FEDERATION: A VERY POOR BARGAIN
We are at an interesting period of our struggle and many people look a bit tired and may fall for the next “good” option that La Republique may soon offer seeing they are beginning to bend to our demands in several areas.
There are several reasons, they have seen that even the taking away of the Internet, the rampant arrests, the killing, the brutality have not deterred the people. They have seen the boycott of 11 Feb, Women’s day, CPDM anniversary, just to name a few. They have been advised by those who see to accept federation before the matter goes out of hand.
I thought that revisiting this idea would not be a bad idea to reiterate the poor option of federating with La Republique.
I have been in Nigeria now for almost two months and during this period, I have been to Abuja, to Rivers, to Cross River, to the Niger Delta area and other states in Nigeria. Being a journalist, I don’t walk around with my eyes closed nor with wax in my ears. It is while in parts of the Niger Delta and some of the Biafra states that I realized that federation does not cure marginalization. Federation only works well when there is good faith in both parties. From every indication, La Republique has shown us that they have no sense of fair play, all they want is manipulation, intrigues, and lies.
While in Nigeria, I realized that the Hausa-Fulanis in the north believe that they have the unalienable right to the resources of Nigeria, to the presidency and to power in all areas. They believe it is their God-given right. This is not different from what francophones believe in Cameroon.
Can you imagine that a Hausa/Fulani in the north tells the southerners more than 300 miles away that all the resources in your land belong to us as our heritage?
Let me quote from a Nigerian magazine “Power Steering.” Quoting one of the Hausa/Fulani in the north who said talking to the Biafra people “We are at war with you people but we won’t allow the country to break up because natural resources found in any part of the country is our heritage and birthright.”
Another expressed it this way “We the Hausa/Fulanis are chosen specially by God to rule Nigeria, no apologies to the Yurobas, no apologies to the Igbo. And thank goodness the minorities are not in doubt about this matter, all the same, no apologies to them either. Our mandate to rule this country comes from the tacit approval of Allah.” Power Steering, November 2016, page B9, and B10. You can be sure that this is not different from the way the typical francophone who is in power thinks about Anglophones. The likes of Fame Ndongo are there to prove it.
The interesting thing about a federation is that there is still one president and he has powers to decide a lot about what goes to what state. Politics deals with the allocation of resources. Buhari who is president now and is doing badly, the whole country is crying because the president’s actions affect the whole country, not just some states.
If you go around the Niger Delta, you find oil. They have so much oil that in some places, as you drill a borehole for water, what comes out is oil. It has made some places inhabitable because they can’t get potable water. Even some rivers have been condemned by oil in some areas but the level of poverty in this same area is alarming. Why is it so? The Hausa/Fulani believe the resources are their birthright so they can do as the please while others can go to hell. Some of the local Niger Delta guys drill and locally refine their own oil but you need to see how they are mercilessly killed all the time.
You say Southern Cameroon is militarized? You will change your mind when you go to Imo state, Rivers, Cross Rivers, in fact, most of the states that comprise the Biafra and Niger Delta states you will be shocked. There are checkpoints about every ten minutes’ drive or 30 minutes’ drive. In some cases, the distance between one checkpoint and another is less than 30 metres without any exaggeration. To make matters worse it is the army, not the police that stands in most of these checkpoints. If you want to see marginalization, go to these south-south states.
If La Republique could have shown good intentions since this struggle started, we could have been confident that a federation will result in a gentleman’s agreement where we can agree to work together and grow together but I can guarantee you that the regime sees Anglophones as their slaves, they will hardly ever imagine themselves sitting on the same table to talk on equal terms.
Don’t forget that we have been under Nigeria for about 44 years and Under La Republique for 56 years. That is 100 years of dominance from others. Do we want to add another 100 years before we are finally free to make decisions for ourselves? Answer that for yourself.
The minister of justice has done some cosmetic changes, the president has done some cosmetic appointments. I can assure you that it is throwing corn to a fowl so that when they finally grant federation it will be like a breakthrough for us. LIE. BIG LIE! Let us not fall for that cheap lie from La Republique. We have been fooled long enough. Let us not be fooled for the second time. It is ahead ahead! Restoration. Nothing more, nothing less!
God is our helper.
Yours Tem Martin